Google TV: The Critics Are Being…Critical

By  |  Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg and The New York Times‘ David Pogue are often among the first tech writers to review major new products. In the case of Google TV, however, they took a bit more time. Both wrote about the platform for their columns this week (here’s Walt’s story and here’s David’s), a few weeks after the first reviews. (such as mine) appeared. Neither of them is impressed–they have overlapping-but-not-identical lists of usability gripes, and come to the conclusion, as I did, that it’s just not ready for prime time.

At this point, I think it’s fair to say that Google TV, as represented by the first products that incorporate it–Logitech’s Revue and Sony’s TV and Blu-Ray player–is a critical dud. (I got a advertising e-mail from Logitech that optimistically referred to happy critics writing positive reviews, but it linked only to Oliver Starr’s review at TechCrunch, which is the most favorable one I’ve seen.)

I’m curious how well the Logitech and Sony products will sell this Christmas, especially since they compete with much cheaper options, such as the Roku players which start at $59.99. Also unknown: Is Google going to stick with Google TV for the long haul, or will it turn out to be a Wave-like fling? I hope that the company sticks with the idea and improves it–for one thing, I think the people who buy Google TV devices this year are getting an alpha product and deserve to get a more polished update. For another, I still think the idea has plenty of potential–a Google TV with fewer bugs and kludgy design decisions and a more harmonious relationship with Hollywood could be a winner.


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Fred Says:

    Mossberg and Pogue don’t like something to which there is an Apple alternative? Shocking.

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Did you read David Pogue's Apple TV review? He called it flawed, limited, confusing, and not quite there, so if there's a conspiracy going on he's falling down on the job. As far as I know Walt hasn't reviewed the new Apple TV at all.


  3. JaredNewman Says:

    I thought this Pogue video on Apple TV vs. Roku was pretty funny:

  4. Jeff Johnson Says:

    Most of the critic stuff is blowing personal (them as user) preferences into the mix of what the first version does… They want a "Read Mind" button on the remote.

    However there is one valid beef… the first-out products are under-powered, probably deliberately, none of them can properly push their own screen full of bitmap around at interactive speed. Full screen is slow in anything but video codecs. Makes web-surfing very slow and lagggy, clunky.
    add 200 bucks worth of cpu and gpu / mem is alll it takes.

    This is why the HP and lenovo etc laptops/netbooks with HDMI outputs are competing really well with what Google Tv does now. Sony and Samsung have the ability and clout to improve performance on that, fix speed issues and own the market for real, anytime they want to.

    It would seem that Samsung is intending to add more CPU speed and a real GPU and Adobe Air 2.5 in Q1 2011 on a new line. At that point i would say that IPTV will start to grow up real fast.

  5. dholyer Says:

    So is the Internet TV wars going to become like the Windows Wars of the 1990's.

    I can not make an unbiased judgment on this since I am a happy user of Dish since 2004 and Disk is a partner in Google TV and I just upgraded to a Dish 722k so in the future (after I get X-mas paid off) I can get a Google TV and do the NET on my 40" HDTV rather than my PC's 19" screen.

  6. Sarah Says:

    As a Dish employee the Google TV is amazing. Being able to go through all my emails and just browse the internet is great. I love being able to be home on my couch and not having to move rooms. A lot are unsure about the Google TV but it is actually very good. My daughter may hate it cause her privacy is a little invaded but me and her dad are ok with that. She loves that she has such a big screen to veiw it on and switch right over to the TV.